Divorce Cases Undone By Facebook

Facebook is increasingly being used as evidence in family law cases. Evidence posted is being used against the posters in court.

One man who claimed to be unemployed was getting alimony from his soon-to-be ex-wife. On his Facebook page, however, he identified himself as a business owner and described his vacations to exotic destinations with his new girlfriend.

Another man in the midst of a divorce claimed he couldn’t afford to pay child support. Yet his Facebook profile showed him sitting in a Ferrari, taking a cruise and selling a piece of property he owned.

Those two cases help illustrate how personal information posted on social networking sites can be used against a person in court, according to a report Wednesday on NewsCenter5 in Boston.

Florida divorce lawyer John Schutz, who cited both examples, says he’s used such postings as evidence against the posters in several divorce cases in the past year alone.

His observations parallel the results of a survey earlier this year by the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers, which found that 66 percent of divorce lawyers cite social networking sites as one of their primary sources of evidence.

Schutz says he’s continually "astonished" by the kind of personal information people are willing to put online, which lawyers like him are always on the lookout for.

He advises people involved in a divorce or a child custody battle to swear off social networking sites until their legal issues have been resolved.

"If what you are engaging in is not appropriate then you shouldn’t be putting it online, or someone like me might use it against you," he told the station.

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